An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found Sydney-based telco Infinity Telecom breached industry consumer standards that requires it to have certain information available on its website for customers.
The ACMA has issued a remediation direction to Infinity Telecom to amend its website, saying it lacks mandatory information about NBN plans, financial hardship assistance, and complaints handling.
The Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard requires telcos to have a written complaints handling process and an NBN key facts sheet in place, while the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code requires telcos to have a financial hardship policy that can be readily access on their websites.
ACMA Authority member Fiona Cameron said this action should serve as a warning across the industry.
"Just because you aren't a big provider, doesn't mean you don't have to take your obligations seriously," Cameron said.
"These consumer safeguards are there to protect the community and all telcos need to play by the rules, irrespective of the size of the business."
Telcos that fail to carry out the requirements of a remedial direction could face up to AU$10 million in fines.
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The ACMA was particularly concerned about Infinity Telecom's lack of a financial hardship policy, saying it is critical that vulnerable customers are aware of their options.
"It is unacceptable that any telco neglects to give basic information to consumers to help them choose the right service or make a complaint," Cameron added.
The ACMA opened its investigation into Infinity Telecom following a referral from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
This is the eighth time this year that the ACMA has taken enforcement action against a telco for breaching industry consumer standards, with seven telcos -- Aussie Broadband, Activ8me, Flip TV, Hello Broadband, Mate Communicate, My Net Fone, and Telechoice -- found for "failing to give consumers clear and honest information about NBN plans".
Earlier this year, the communications watchdog revised the TCP Code, which now requires telcos to perform a credit check from an external party for new customers signing up to a plan with a commitment of over AU$1,000, around AU$45 a month for 24-month contracts.
"We see evidence of customers being encouraged to sign up to multiple plans which do not meet their needs, are excessive, or beyond their financial capacity," ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said at the time.
"The impact of this is serious, particularly for those in vulnerable circumstances, leading to financial hardship and denial of access to critical services."